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Author Topic:   The validity of an Anthropomorphic God
working out eating chips
Member (Idle past 1395 days)
Posts: 1623
Joined: 01-12-2004


Message 1 of 29 (351691)
09-23-2006 10:27 PM


An Anthropomorphic God is one that is like us, that kills, thinks, sees, looks. This God is the creation by which human beings envision a deity, a creator that is like themselves. This belief is widely popular with evangelists and most church-goers that I know, this version of God is held within the Bible and in sermons I imagine.

In the book of Genesis it is said that God created man in his image. This can be interpreted various ways and I do not want to direct this topic into what we think this means.

I believe that if God exists it cannot be apart of this system. We are but creatures that exist and we must eat, we must sleep, and to an extent we need to be part of a routine to buy food and to have shelter to sleep in. But God perplexes me. I oft sat and questioned "Why this". I imagined the need for men to be of different cultures, traditions and territory. These men they hurt and kill eachother in the name of ethnocentrism or patriotism, what have you. I asked God why this? What is the point of this?
It was then that I realized there is no reason. God cannot be held within reason or logic, God cannot be defined by man.

For this is my argument against an anthropomorphic God, for when one questions existence, purpose and the various properties of existence one realizes that one cannot logically reason it. God cannot be held within the parameters of human logic, for all we know is that it exists and nothing more.

I have been musing over this subject for the last 2 years. I recently held a discussion with my archaeology professor(Phd from Columbia) in class that came about soon after asking about the moral atheist. I was not attempting to indict her but ask her of her beliefs for she is a moral atheist. She agreed outright with my assertions that I am presenting here, she could offer nothing but praise: "this young man reads books". The impossiblity for an anthropomorphic God was easy to see for us, I raised this discussion in the middle of class mind you and my the majority of the other students had no idea what we were talking about. She had to assure them that it was related to our studies of the day.

I have coined it "God doesn't". In a poem written long ago(no longer have it) outlying this concept that an anthropomorphic God cannot possibly exist.
As in God doesn't hear, God doesn't see, God isn't good, God cannot be reasoned or boxed in, It simply cannot be described, God doesn't exist.
I have reasoned this because we are but humans and our minds are limited, the mobility of our minds are limited. We are essentially damned to think in human terms and likeness. We cannot be anything greater than what we inherently are.

I have always said that all we can know for sure (if one believes in a deity) is that It exists.

The realization that we are but humans, a limited species can often be disheartening to say the least.
(But have you heard the term "ignorance is bliss"? Dylan once said that "if you're not depressed you don't have anything to say.")


To discuss if this view is valid or invalid this is my purpose here. I believe it is invalid, as I've said God cannot be articulated by man, God cannot be described.

This thread is NOT to discuss my personal religious beliefs or to criticize my belief in Christianity. I have already stated why I love and respect the Bible, it is a beautiful composition of men frustrated, reasoning their God, finding their God, it is a deep struggle of the mind and then a story of a man that preached Altruism.I care not to generalize or summarize anymore.

Promoted by AdminJar


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kuresu
Member (Idle past 371 days)
Posts: 2544
From: boulder, colorado
Joined: 03-24-2006


Message 2 of 29 (351719)
09-24-2006 1:41 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by working out eating chips
09-23-2006 10:27 PM


I have but one thing to say: jar was right in stating your contradiction.

I have always said that all we can know for sure (if one believes in a deity) is that It exists

One cannot believe and know that something exists. Belief is rooted in the unknown. The known is rooted in what we do know--more than just facts, but also an understanding of concepts.

If you know that God exists, how, then, can you belief that he exists?

It is a contradiction.

As to the topic:

as I've said God cannot be articulated by man, God cannot be described.

an anthropomorphic God cannot possibly exist.
As in God doesn't hear, God doesn't see, God isn't good, God cannot be reasoned or boxed in, It simply cannot be described

as second contradiction. God can't be articulated, eh? And what is this that you've done? You've stated that he isn't good, doesn't see, hear, cannot be reasoned or boxed in, can't be described. And yet you've described your God.

If God cannot be anthropomorhpic in any way, much less described, articulated, in anyway, then no one can say anything about any God. You can't say that he can't be something, nor can you say that he is something. For in the first case, you are describing, in the second you are antrhopomorphizing and describing.

Care to explain away the contradictions?


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working out eating chips
Member (Idle past 1395 days)
Posts: 1623
Joined: 01-12-2004


Message 3 of 29 (351720)
09-24-2006 2:09 AM
Reply to: Message 2 by kuresu
09-24-2006 1:41 AM


To address "the contradiction": the belief in the existence of a God must be taken as a given. This obviously does not apply to atheists.

quote:
as second contradiction. God can't be articulated, eh? And what is this that you've done? You've stated that he isn't good, doesn't see, hear, cannot be reasoned or boxed in, can't be described. And yet you've described your God.

I was addressing common adjectives attributed to God. My only resignation is that God is. Moses's inquiry into the name of Christ was replied with "I Am".

quote:
If God cannot be anthropomorhpic in any way, much less described, articulated, in anyway, then no one can say anything about any God.

Exactly.

If after reading this reply one is still bothered by my words then one is still taking them in the strictest literal sense which is not how they were intended to be taken.


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kuresu
Member (Idle past 371 days)
Posts: 2544
From: boulder, colorado
Joined: 03-24-2006


Message 4 of 29 (351723)
09-24-2006 2:16 AM
Reply to: Message 3 by working out eating chips
09-24-2006 2:09 AM


perhaps this is taking it literal to the extreme, but I know not . . .

you didn't answer why the first was a contradiction, only to say that it doesn't apply to atheists. please specify why it isn't a contradiction, no matter who you are (theist or atheist).

The problem with the second one--if you can't say anything about God, which you seem to agree with (based on your "exactly") then you cannot say he exists, or that he doesn't exist. Because then you're describing, articulating, and even (though this is quite a stretch) anthropomorphizing God.


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Phat
Member
Posts: 10970
From: Denver,Colorado USA
Joined: 12-30-2003
Member Rating: 1.2


Message 5 of 29 (351724)
09-24-2006 2:23 AM
Reply to: Message 3 by working out eating chips
09-24-2006 2:09 AM


Omnipotant is quite a BIG word
NIV writes:

Rom 11:34-12:1--"Who has known the mind of the Lord?
Or who has been his counselor?" "Who has ever given to God,
that God should repay him?" For from him and through him and to him are all things.
To him be the glory forever! Amen.

Man, I always have to scramble to look up these big words that you learn in college!

Websters writes:

anthropomorphism-n : an interpretation of what is not human or personal in terms of human or personal characteristics : humanization anthropomorphic adj

I would agree that God is unknowable in the sense of understanding the dimensions of His thoughts, perspectives, even feelings.

Many Christians speak of a personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ, and I too believe this is possible.

I will be honest, however, and declare that I , unlike Paul, do NOT have the "mind of Christ". How could I possible see the world through God incarnates eyes?

Im continuing to pray and communicate with Him on a daily basis, though.

Many people would say that one who talks to God (or Christ) on a daily basis is just talking to themselves. I disagree, and that is basically the beginning of the core of my beliefs.


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working out eating chips
Member (Idle past 1395 days)
Posts: 1623
Joined: 01-12-2004


Message 6 of 29 (351725)
09-24-2006 2:28 AM
Reply to: Message 4 by kuresu
09-24-2006 2:16 AM


I read your reply a few times and I finally caught hold of what idea you were expressing.

You are saying that the existence of God cannot be taken with a grain of salt either because "existence" is human. I did state in my "God doesn't" list that God doesn't exist but I go on to claim that God does exist.

I then said to you that this must be taken as a given for Believers which is not reasoned, whiched supports my claim that God cannot be reasoned.

There is no word to describe God, the closest one is that It "exists".

This is unsatisfactory I know, but that is not my fault.


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working out eating chips
Member (Idle past 1395 days)
Posts: 1623
Joined: 01-12-2004


Message 7 of 29 (351726)
09-24-2006 2:31 AM
Reply to: Message 5 by Phat
09-24-2006 2:23 AM


I enjoyed reading your post.

PS: I didn't learn that word in college, I learned it here from someone I'd say 2 or 3 years ago or so.

Edited by -messenjah of one, : 2 or 3


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Phat
Member
Posts: 10970
From: Denver,Colorado USA
Joined: 12-30-2003
Member Rating: 1.2


Message 8 of 29 (351727)
09-24-2006 2:33 AM
Reply to: Message 2 by kuresu
09-24-2006 1:41 AM


I know that I believe but do I believe that I know?
kuresu writes:

One cannot believe and know that something exists. Belief is rooted in the unknown. The known is rooted in what we do know--more than just facts, but also an understanding of concepts.

If you know that God exists, how, then, can you belief that he exists?

Good point. Off the top of my head, I remember that Abrahams faith was accounted to him as righteousness...not his knowledge.

Abraham didnt have a clue as to what God was up to on a day to day.

My beliefs have evolved over the years. I am not a word for word Biblical literalist, but I lean more towards a thought for thought literalism...(within reason)

Thats another thing: The Bible is a noble collection of thoughts and philosophies. Many of them are real and valid. To simply state that the entire book is real and valid is not to use critical thinking on the matter, however.

I have always believed that the character behind the book (Jesus Christ) is personal and knowable. Now you have me thinking, however.

Perhaps Jesus is more believable as a literal living person(ality)
but to assert that He is knowable is pompous at best.

My question to myself: Will Jesus ever be fully knowable?

I would like to think so, and am moving towards that conclusion within my belief.

If He is fully known, however, does the Belief vanish? :eek:

Edited by Phat, : spelling


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kuresu
Member (Idle past 371 days)
Posts: 2544
From: boulder, colorado
Joined: 03-24-2006


Message 9 of 29 (351728)
09-24-2006 2:48 AM
Reply to: Message 6 by working out eating chips
09-24-2006 2:28 AM


yeah, language can suck. how do express that which is unexpressible? It's like the concept of mu, it has no comparable concept in western languages.

my whole point, though, was that God has to be able to be described, arituculated, and at times, maybe even anthropomorphized. Otherwise, no one can talk about God and relate the concepts of what God is or might be. If you state that you can't describe him in anyway, and then go on to, well . . . Anywho, that was my whole kind of point--I know that it's a given for you that he exists, so I wasn't (at least intentionally) arguing against that (especially as this thread isn't geared towards that topic).


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working out eating chips
Member (Idle past 1395 days)
Posts: 1623
Joined: 01-12-2004


Message 10 of 29 (351729)
09-24-2006 2:56 AM
Reply to: Message 9 by kuresu
09-24-2006 2:48 AM


I understand,
I'm glad I finally caught wind of what you were trying to say.
Excellent contribution.
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kuresu
Member (Idle past 371 days)
Posts: 2544
From: boulder, colorado
Joined: 03-24-2006


Message 11 of 29 (351730)
09-24-2006 2:57 AM
Reply to: Message 8 by Phat
09-24-2006 2:33 AM


Re: I know that I believe but do I believe that I know?
If He is fully known, however, does the Belief vanish?

unless you change the common understanding of what belief is, then yes. But I don't think that would be a bad thing--uncomfortable, possibly, because we'd have to get used to a new way of thinking perhaps.

Don't you just love our stinkin' little language?
Beliavability is an interesting choice--to me is brings about a picture of fiction, though this isn't accurate. I admit that my use of the word knowledge is a little different, but I'd like to think it's more of an accurate application as to what knowledge really is. It is one thing to know the facts, it is another to Know the facts (think of jar's favorite statement--whatever it was). I may know my brother--I know who he is, what he is about, but do I truly Know him? When you make someone believable, it's just that--can this character be imagined to really exist, live, breath, and die?

This is something I will have to flesh out more, should I get the chance (and I'm already late on my second column feature)(not to mention second drafts for my writing class)


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kuresu
Member (Idle past 371 days)
Posts: 2544
From: boulder, colorado
Joined: 03-24-2006


Message 12 of 29 (351731)
09-24-2006 2:59 AM
Reply to: Message 10 by working out eating chips
09-24-2006 2:56 AM


Excellent contribution.

all I can say is:

[shouting in jubilitation at being emancipated]Yay! I'm not a simpleton anymore! :laugh:[/shouting] (all as a light-hearted joke)


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Phat
Member
Posts: 10970
From: Denver,Colorado USA
Joined: 12-30-2003
Member Rating: 1.2


Message 13 of 29 (351732)
09-24-2006 3:02 AM
Reply to: Message 9 by kuresu
09-24-2006 2:48 AM


Describe God in twenty words or less...
kuresu writes:

my whole point, though, was that God has to be able to be described, arituculated, and at times, maybe even anthropomorphized. Otherwise, no one can talk about God and relate the concepts of what God is or might be.

Say we just threw all the books away. If everyone sat in a circle, could any sort of anthropomorphic consensus develop as to who or what God is?


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Phat
Member
Posts: 10970
From: Denver,Colorado USA
Joined: 12-30-2003
Member Rating: 1.2


Message 14 of 29 (351733)
09-24-2006 3:29 AM
Reply to: Message 11 by kuresu
09-24-2006 2:57 AM


Re: I know that I believe but do I believe that I know?
kuresu writes:

I may know my brother--I know who he is, what he is about, but do I truly Know him? When you make someone believable, it's just that--can this character be imagined to really exist, live, breath, and die?


And this, to me, is what seperates a believer from a non-believer. I look at it like this: There are three basic levels of knowing.

1) Knowing about someone. Someone perhaps like Carmelo Anthony. We know about Carmelo. Denver Nuggets hoopster. Wife with baby named LaLa. We have seen Melos likeness on T-Shirts and in the newspaper, perhaps. But how many of us have "met" Melo?

2) Meeting someone. Say we took it a step further. We "met" Melo one day. He interacted with us. Perhaps he only signed an autograph, but by definition he did something that let us know he was alive. Maybe an encouraging word. Maybe he even taught us how to shoot a jumper in the park. At any rate, at this point we can say that Melo is believable as a unique person--- not because of what we have read but because of what we had experienced in our encounter with him.

3) Day to Day- At this level, we would be close to Melo. We would be a team mate or even a family member. We would know the dudes favorite flavors, colors, hangups, and personality.
At this level and only at this level can the reality of the relationship be accepted--or rejected----based on an accurate choice.

Of course this all relates back to Jesus Christ who I believe to be Gods character. Were it not for the flesh and blood reality of Christ, God could never be experienced on a human level---nor could God really be known.

I believe that I am striving to reach the third level in my belief and knowledge of God.

Additionally, how could one ever get to level 3 without having experienced level 2? :eek:

God can only be anthropomorphic through Christ and can only interrelate with humanity this way, IMB.

Edited by Phat, : clarification..post expounded upon


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ringo
Member
Posts: 14907
From: frozen wasteland
Joined: 03-23-2005
Member Rating: 2.1


Message 15 of 29 (351792)
09-24-2006 12:27 PM
Reply to: Message 14 by Phat
09-24-2006 3:29 AM


Re: I know that I believe but do I believe that I know?
Phat writes:

There are three basic levels of knowing.

You left out the zeroth level: Knowing what somebody claims.

I never heard of Carmelo Anthony until I read your post. I know nothing about him except what you claim. I have no corroborating evidence from an outside source.

A lot of people are in that same position regarding your claims about God.

Knowing about someone.

Knowing "about" somebody makes no distinction between real people and fictional characters. You probably know as much about Carmelo Anthony as you do about Frodo Baggins. Why do you "believe" that one is real and one is not?

Meeting someone.

When you meet somebody, you have only their claims about who they are. You've proboably met somebody who is always making up stories about himself. How can you know which of his stories are true and which are not? (Hint: outside, corroborating evidence.)

And even if there really is a Melo, how do you know the version you met is genuine? What if Melo has a double that he sends out to mingle with the "ordinary" people? Or what if somebody poses as Melo just for the attention? Or what if some deranged person really thinks he is Melo?

Day to Day

Ever hear about the wife who found out her husband was leading a double life? She said, "I never knew you at all." The closer you think you are to somebody, the more likely you are to be taken in.

You've heard me say this before: all we have is our perceptions. Whatever God "is", we can only "see" Him in anthropomorphic terms. We can only "know" Him in terms that allow for mistaken identity, fraud, insanity, etc.


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